Cubs Have Not Discussed Sending Junior Lake to the Minors

Junior Lake is in the midst of a rough stretch. Lake is 0-for-6 in the first two games of the series in Boston and has struck out in all six at bats. And Lake’s frustration was on full display Monday night when he struck out swinging in the fourth inning and broke the bat over his knee.

Lake has not had a hit since June 24 against the Reds when he went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Since June 24, Lake has played in six games and is 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts.

Junior Lake hit .190/.200/.342 in 23 games in June with a double, a triple, two home runs, one walk and 26 strikeouts. And for the season, Lake is hitting .228/.257/.401 in 73 games (237 at bats) with 10 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 10 walks and 87 strikeouts.

According to multiple reports, Rick Renteria was asked about the possibility of the Cubs sending Junior Lake to Triple-A in order to get on track and gain some confidence at the plate. Renteria shot the idea down and said the team has to stay positive with Lake.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, when asked about the Cubs sending Junior Lake down to the minors, Rick Renteria said, “No. It’s just a matter of us making sure we stay positive with him, share with him what we’re seeing and try to get feedback from him: What does he see? We’ll continue to give him opportunities to play.” Renteria explained, “We just have to make sure Junior gets the ball up in the zone a little bit, he had four strikeouts and three of the four were balls down in the zone.”

PrintAfter Tuesday’s game Renteria said Lake “stays positive” and “keeps working.” Lake told ESPN Chicago that he is frustrated because he doesn’t want to miss pitches like the ones he did Tuesday night when he pinch-hit for Nate Schierholtz. Lake said he needs a pitcher to make a mistake and while he feels bad because he’s not producing right now, he knows that if he keep working he will get better.

Rick Renteria plans to keep using Junior Lake the way he has all season and put him in the best situations the Cubs feel will give him a chance to succeed.

The Cubs also plan for Mike Olt to continue his development in the majors and the front office feels he can work through his struggles in the majors.

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  • paulcatanese

    Lake and Olt, two guys that Wood can pinch hit for.

    • Tony_H

      Travis Wood can pinch hit for everyone on the team except Rizzo and Castro. I bet he is the best all around athlete on the team.

      • paulcatanese

        Without a doubt.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        Zambrano was a better hitter. I still want the DH in NL either way.

  • Denver Mike

    There has been a lot of discussion the past couple months about sending Lake and Olt back to the minors to get some work in, Olt more so than Lake. But Olt is 25 (3 collegiate seasons, 4 seasons in MiLB), Lake is 24 (7 seasons in MiLB), and both players are having the same problems in the bigs that they’ve had their entire careers. So I’m not sure what good it is going to do to send them back down to work things out if they haven’t made any improvements by now. I know people can cite some rare cases of players breaking out at a later age, but frankly many of those examples are guys that have been either suspected or caught using PEDs (Sosa and Cruz come to mind). At some point you have to call a spade a spade, and resign to the fact that maybe these guys are what they are…high power bats with no pitch recognition skills whatsoever. It doesn’t mean they won’t make some marginal improvement over time, but going back to AAA and taking PT away from guys who are still developing seems like a waste of time.

    • Tony_H

      Both of these guys had golden opportunities this year. Neither one has taken it and showed that they should be a starter. At this point, both look like bench guys and you never know, could have a decent enough career.

  • Steve Baier

    I had hoped for Lake to find some success this year, and he seemed headed in the right direction about 5 weeks ago when he pushed his BA up around .270. It’s extra disappointing with the Cubs’ outfield being so bad offensively as a whole.

  • SirGladiator

    I don’t see any logic in focusing on an 0-15 stretch by anybody, that’s not representative of anything, it’s just a really bad slump. The fact is that Lake, Olt, and Ruggiano are all players that have shown some potential to be really good, some potential to be really bad, and they just need to be given a lot of playing time so that we can see beyond any doubt which one they are. Obviously so far Lake and Olt are looking pretty terrible, Ruggiano still looking like he can go either way. But it’s still too early to tell, because Ruggiano was hurt and Lake and Olt simply haven’t been given enough playing time. Let’s see them consistently for a couple months, then we’ll have a pretty good idea what we’ve got. Unless, of course, we decide we’d like to make the playoffs this year, then by all means send Lake and Olt down, bring up Baez and Bryant, trade for another power bat, and we can probably make the playoffs fairly easily based on the strength of our rotation (which we would also be taking EJax out of) . But if we’re still tanking, no sense in sending these guys down to AAA, just let them play so there’s not any doubt about how good or bad they really are.

    • triple

      Luis Valbuena is the perfect example… give a guy enough playing time and you find out who he is. We’ve also found out who Darwin Barney is too.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I get that he is a young talent, but the irony is not lost on me that we only seem concerned on sending Lake/Olt down for “seasoning” yet the other members of the Mendoza gang are just fine for penciling into the lineup everyday. (barney/nate/sweeney/coughlan)